Understanding The Health Issues Caused By Water Contamination
We almost always talk about air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. However, just as important, if not more so, is understanding problems caused by water pollution. It is reaching unprecedented limits and has very negative consequences, both on marine flora and fauna, as well as on our own health. The World Health Organization has estimated that approximately 2 billion people around the world are drinking contaminated water from feces alone, while the number of people drinking water with other contaminants is even higher.
Therefore, we talk to you about the causes of water pollution, as well as some possible solutions to face this major challenge. You will need to know what measures to take to purify your own water if it is contaminated, because it can have significant health implications. This is why it is important to have the right home water systems in place.
Importance of finding solutions to water pollution
It is urgent to solve water pollution problems. Unfortunately, it is not simple, because it is necessary to put all kinds of measures in place. Water is essential for our survival, which is why it is one of our most precious goods and we must always conserve it.
Being able to drink potable water is crucial because it is well known that water is a vehicle for many organisms or products that can transmit diseases or cause them to harm us. Therefore, one of the leading recommendations is that we should have water purification plants so that it reaches us in the best conditions for consumption. This is due to the fact that water pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues to pose health risks for humans.
Parasites, viruses, bacteria and different organisms can be directly related to the unhealthiness of water in most of the world and are potential threats to our health. They can transmit diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, dysentery or a parasite called Giardia that settles in the intestinal area of humans.
This occurs mainly in underdeveloped countries because water treatment is either non-existent or deficient, so there are many people who run the risk of contracting these diseases just by drinking a little water. Hence the importance of taking the utmost care of this precious commodity and taking care of our health.
There are many methods to purify water and make it drinkable for humans such as chlorine, iodine purifiers or even boiling, which achieves a drastic reduction of pathogens that could cause health problems. Obviously if every time we had to drink water we had to go through this process, a day would be tedious.
For this reason there is a wide range of products that will help us to maintain the maximum quality in our water, from water softeners to filters or domestic reverse osmosis, all alternatives to take into account when consuming something as basic and necessary as water. Would you put your health and that of your loved ones at risk? Certainly not.
The causes of current water pollution
Water is a basic resource for life. First, because we need it in our daily lives, and it is a fundamental part of the planet’s biodiversity. Our food, climate balance and even the oxygen we breathe depend on these aquatic ecosystems.
The fact is that most of the oxygen in our atmosphere does not come from the forests, as many people believe, but from the oceans. Specifically, most oxygen comes from the photosynthesis of phytoplankton (plant plankton) living in the sea. It is estimated that up to 80% of oxygen comes from the ocean.
Life on Earth depends on water. However, rivers, seas and oceans are more polluted than ever, mainly for these reasons:
- The direct discharge of pollutants into the water. Such as waste from industrial production, plastics and garbage. The problem of microplastics, in fact, is growing and, apparently, we have underestimated the amount in our oceans. In fact, some studies suggest that there are up to a million times more than we thought.
- Global warming. Climate change has altered the balance of the oceans. One of the main effects is the loss of oxygen in that water. This completely changes the ecosystems, causing the disappearance of species and displacement of other species that end up with native species.
- Deforestation of forests. This causes several negative effects. The main one is the appearance of sediments and bacteria in the water carried by rivers and oceans (due to the fact that the trees do not carry out their balancing task, since they are not there) and contaminate the water.
- Agricultural pesticides. These pesticides seep through farmland and can reach the groundwater, which ends up reaching rivers and seas with this contaminated water.
- Maritime traffic. From waste dumped in the water, to accidental spills, such as those from oil tankers and merchant ships, cause direct and very harmful contamination of ocean water.
- As we can see, and unfortunately, all the causes of current water pollution can be summarized in one: human beings.
The consequences of water pollution
Water pollution has very harmful consequences. Some of the most important are:
- The death of marine species and the destruction of biodiversity. Both flora and fauna, which alter the balance and produce a chain reaction in the entire ecosystem of the planet.
- Pollution of the marine food chain. This affects the species living in the oceans, but also people. The ingestion of mercury or plastics accumulated in the marine organisms we eat are an example.
- The shortage of drinking water, or the access to poor quality water suffered by many people in the world. An estimated 663 million people live without access to clean water and 2.4 billion have no access to purification facilities, according to UNICEF.